Whole vs. Hole

Whole vs. Hole. Let's learn how to use these words correctly.

You use whole when you're describing or referring to something that is complete. It can be used as an adjective or a noun. Easy enough, right?

Now let's talk about hole. No, not Courtney Love's band. Hole has several different uses.

You can use hole as noun to refer to an opening in something; a grungy, unkempt place; or a bad predicament. You can also use hole as a verb that means to make a hole, go into a hole, or hide.

 

Examples

After his girlfriend dumped him, Aiden holed up in his bedroom and ate a whole pizza.

We feel your pain, Aiden, but all of that pepperoni isn't going to bring Tiffany back. Here, holed up is a verb phrase that means to hide. The adjective whole indicates that Aiden ate the entire pizza.

Eric and Cort's off-campus apartment is a hole. It's littered with empty take-out containers, the couch is missing its cushions, and it smells like feet.

This disgusting example uses the version of hole that's a noun referring to a dirty, shabby place that no girl will ever set foot in unless Eric and Cort get their act together… or one of their mothers comes to visit.

"In his inspirational halftime speech, Coach Carlsberg reminded his players that they are all important parts of the whole."

In this sporty sentence, we have an example of the noun whole. The players are the parts; the team is the whole. And if they don't start working together, they're going to lose the Homecoming game. Let's go, Squids!